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#1 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -

I tend to play many games competitively. Not in any really serious fashion, mind you, and this "competitive play" really just amounts to online multiplayer but, in any case, I enjoy playing matches in games to win. Maybe because of this, I've always thought of proper balance in competitive settings to be a very important thing. 
 
Which brings me to wonder why fighting game developers can't balance their games to the point where "tiers" become irrelevant. How is it that a game like Starcraft II, a real-time strategy game with an extreme amount of variables regarding matches, can have a practically perfect amount of balance while Capcom seemingly can't even get it right with any of their recent fighting games? Sure, SC2 has only 3 races to deal with while fighting game rosters can be very, very large, but I'd be surprised to learn that Starcraft II isn't more complex than a vast majority of fighting games out right now. 
 
Again, I can imagine it's very difficult to achieve a good balance between 30 characters in a fighting game but, again, there are reasons as to why SC2, an inherently more complex game given that it's an RTS, is such a popular game and I'm willing to bet that balance is one of them. There's a reason why UMvC3 is filled with Weskers, Dante's, Vergils and the like: because they're considered top tier characters. Would it be really that hard to simply adjust them so that they wouldn't be so predominant in competitive play? A rebuttal would be "learn to counter them with the characters of your choice", but why should that be necessary? Why is it acceptable that there are characters that are easier to play with at a semi-competitive level and others that are not? 
 
Phoenix Wright is a character in UMvC3. He's shit. There are definitely some people that are great with him and that I'm sure do very well in tournaments. "Some people". For most people, though, that character is probably extremely hard to pick up and do well with. Basically, if people want to make their lives easier and win matches at a faster rate than with a sub-tier character like Phoenix Wright, they should try their hand at top tier characters instead of trying their hardest to do well with shit ones.  
 
I dunno, I guess I'm rambling at this point. Hopefully this makes sense to some.
 
I guess the tl;dr would be: why can Blizzard balance such a complicated game like Starcraft II while Capcom (and other fighting game companies), having years of experience with the genre, can't pull off a similar feat?

#2 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2132 posts) -

Because Blizzard developers are better than Capcom developers.

#3 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3082 posts) -

Better / more testers?

#4 Posted by The_LMFAO_Guy (192 posts) -

Can you name me a non-Capcom fighting game were a tier list doesn't matter?

#5 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@The_LMFAO_Guy said:
Can you name me a non-Capcom fighting game were a tier list doesn't matter?
That's the whole point. If developers actually want their fighting games to matter in a competitive sense, why do tier lists have to matter at all? Those behind Skullgirls seem to be striving for what I would want in this context. ArcSys, while not perfect, certainly do a better job than Capcom has at fighting game balance.
#6 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:
A rebuttal would be "learn to counter them with the characters of your choice", but why should that be necessary?
Because you are learning how to play the game? That's like saying Zangief should be immune to projectiles because you can't learn how to counter that.  Also, not every character has to be easy to pick up for everyone, that would be kind of dumb. Characters don't need to be equally strong, or require equal skill to master.
#7 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@MikeGosot said: 

Because you are learning how to play the game? That's like saying Zangief should be immune to projectiles because you can't learn how to counter that.  Also, not every character has to be easy to pick up for everyone, that would be kind of dumb. Characters don't need to be equally strong, or require equal skill to master.

I'm not arguing against counters. Starcraft II is largely based around that concept. But I'm arguing against characters that are more difficult to counter than others. Why, in your opinion, don't characters have to be equally as strong? 
 
And I guess I don't think characters should require equal skill to master, either. But being at least remotely good with a character, levels below actually mastering, shouldn't be so difficult as to make games like MvC2 centered around only a handful of characters when it comes to playing seriously.
#8 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

Terrible comparison, and if I really have to explain why a game where you can on-the-fly change the entire dynamic of your (large) team is incomparable with a game where your (small) team is set before the match even begins, then it's not worth my time.

#9 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

The thing with Starcraft 2 is that Blizzard continually rebalances it. Every patch sees a few small changes that are meant to keep all the factions balanced, but it's a continuous process. Would it be possible to do the same with fighting games? Sure. But since a lot of fighting games are isolated from the Internet, in arcades and the like, patch windows are considerably more spread out.

Also, have you looked at Blizzard's forums during a patch release? Lots of QQ.

#10 Posted by groin (854 posts) -

Blizzard has tweaked the game several times so they didn't get it right. Protoss players cried about imbalance when the when the 1/1/1 build was wrecking them. Eventually, Protoss players learned how to counter the 1/1/1 build without any balance tweaks. You have give the players time to develop the metagame. When Super Street Fighter 4 was released everyone dismissed characters like Adon and Fei Long. Gamerbee came out of nowhere at Evo and showed that Adon was a beast. Fei was mostly ignored until Mago started using him. Typically, Capcom does not make kneejerk balance changes to their fighting games. They want the metagame to develop before making balance changes. Some developers have tried rapid balance changes in fighting games but the competitive players were not happy with results (e.g., MK9). In any case, I would argue that balancing fighting games is more complex than a 3 race RTS game. Subtle changes to frame data, hitboxes, and damage can unintentionally change a lot of matchups. A lot of character "technology" is never discovered until years after release. For instance, SSF2 Turbo, which was released in 1994, players recently found new tech like T-Hawk option selects and unblockable Ryu Tatsus.

#11 Posted by Spoonman671 (4751 posts) -

I don't think it is necessarily safe to assume that a RTS is, by nature, more complex than a fighting game.

#12 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@Ubersmake: The point about the updates is true, and I thought of that while writing, too. It's probably an even bigger contributing factor to the balance of those games than I thought previously. It'd be nice to say that the games should be fine upon release, but I know that that's unrealistic. 
 
@Spoonman671 said: 
I don't think it is necessarily safe to assume that a RTS is, by nature, more complex than a fighting game.
Yeah, as groin mentioned, I was probably dismissing the complexity of fighting games too hard there. But I'm not sure I'd concede that competitive RTS games are less technical than fighting games.
#13 Posted by ricetopher (1046 posts) -

So you are comparing balance in a real-time strategy game with 3 sides, to fighting games which generally have upwards of a dozen or more characters?

You mention Skullgirls, but that game is spending years in development to try and balance an 8 character (or is it 10?) roster.

When anything is played competitively, people will try and determine what strategies are better, and which will give a greater chance of winning.

Tier lists come with being competitive, simple as that. And they are pretty much always based on opinions when it comes to the specifics.

#14 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

With the huge rosters of fighting games, balance is naturally going to be harder to achieve. I would also argue that it is fun to have weaker characters so that victory is that much sweeter when you win against a top tier character with one. Lastly who really cares about balance in any MvC game? That series is all about the crazy characters and combination attacks and stuff flying all over the screen. Not to mention it would really be ridiculous if Phoenix Wright was as tough as the others. Joke characters exist for a reason.

#15 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@MikeGosot said:
Because you are learning how to play the game? That's like saying Zangief should be immune to projectiles because you can't learn how to counter that. Also, not every character has to be easy to pick up for everyone, that would be kind of dumb. Characters don't need to be equally strong, or require equal skill to master.
I'm not arguing against counters. Starcraft II is largely based around that concept. But I'm arguing against characters that are more difficult to counter than others. Why, in your opinion, don't characters have to be equally as strong?

On this point: if you consider individual units to be characters, they're not even "balanced" within SC2. If you put 1 zergling against one Space Marine, are they evenly matched? Do they kill each other evenly? Or what about a Mothership vs. a Thor? SC2 is rock-paper-scissors strategy design, where the availability of a wide variety of units that each have unique functions creates a system that's fairly balanced overall, but the units themselves are not balanced against each other. That's like talking about League of Legends and saying the game is unbalanced because a support can't 1v1 a carry.

Also, individually balanced games are ridiculously boring because the only true balance that can exist on 1v1 is a mirror fight, and the closer you get to that balance, the closer you get to a mirror fight. When there are two different playstyles facing off, one is going to be inherently better for one reason or another. There will be a third strategy or playstyle out there, though, that will counter the "better" one but lose to the "worse" one.

#16 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@ricetopher said: 

Tier lists come with being competitive, simple as that. And they are pretty much always based on opinions when it comes to the specifics.

But there's no tier list for the SC2 races from what I've seen. 
 
Starcraft II has a large amount of units. Why should it be obvious that balancing this is easier than balancing a roster of several fighting game characters? The genres are not similar, but they remain competitive. If the developers could, what would stop them from making several minor adjustments to several characters to promote balance? It's the same reason for why Sentinel in MvC3 got nerfed or why Sagat did in SFIV.
#17 Posted by SoldierG654342 (1805 posts) -

So long as there is more than one set of moves in a fighting game, there will always be tiers. Perfect balance is impossible.

#18 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@Example1013 said: 

On this point: if you consider individual units to be characters, they're not even "balanced" within SC2. If you put 1 zergling against one Space Marine, are they evenly matched? Do they kill each other evenly? Or what about a Mothership vs. a Thor? SC2 is rock-paper-scissors strategy design, where the availability of a wide variety of units that each have unique functions creates a system that's fairly balanced overall, but the units themselves are not balanced against each other. That's like talking about League of Legends and saying the game is unbalanced because a support can't 1v1 a carry.

Also, individually balanced games are ridiculously boring because the only true balance that can exist on 1v1 is a mirror fight, and the closer you get to that balance, the closer you get to a mirror fight. When there are two different playstyles facing off, one is going to be inherently better for one reason or another. There will be a third strategy or playstyle out there, though, that will counter the "better" one but lose to the "worse" one.

Yes, but as you mentioned, as a whole, the races in SC2 are balanced against each other even though the units are obviously not. So what, are you saying, exactly? Units can't be compared to individual fighting game characters because the characters themselves are much more analogous to the actual races as a whole. 
 
And that second point isn't true. Zerg playstyle doesn't resemble Protoss playstyle or Terran playstyle, but at least any combination of these, supporting a great number of builds, can work competitively. Two characters: Balrog and Vega. These two SFIV characters are on equal enough territory, at least from what I had last seen concerning SFIV, but they don't play the same way. Thinking that balance in 1v1 can only mean mirror matches is just a lack of creativity, in my opinion. What I'm speaking of is discrepancies like a Sakura vs. a Yang or a Dan vs. an Akuma. 
 
But the point arises that these characters are made to be weaker purposefully. Maybe. Guess I can't say much in that case.
#19 Posted by Hunkulese (2838 posts) -

Starcraft has 3 races to balance. I'm pretty sure a fighting game with 3 characters would be pretty balanced.

It's impossible to have perfectly balanced fighting game unless everyone has the same moveset. Just by making characters different you lose the perfect balance.

Online
#20 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:
@MikeGosot said: 

Because you are learning how to play the game? That's like saying Zangief should be immune to projectiles because you can't learn how to counter that.  Also, not every character has to be easy to pick up for everyone, that would be kind of dumb. Characters don't need to be equally strong, or require equal skill to master.

I'm not arguing against counters. Starcraft II is largely based around that concept. But I'm arguing against characters that are more difficult to counter than others. Why, in your opinion, don't characters have to be equally as strong?  And I guess I don't think characters should require equal skill to master, either. But being at least remotely good with a character, levels below actually mastering, shouldn't be so difficult as to make games like MvC2 centered around only a handful of characters when it comes to playing seriously.
Yeah, making some characters more difficult to counter IN ALL SITUATIONS is a problem, competitively. Not when the character is puposefully more powerful, like Boss Characters, but you get my point. I believe some characters SHOULD be more difficult to counter depending on the situation. Akuma is very difficult to counter with Zangief, but not so much with Juri. 
Also, what's the point of having all characters equally powerful? When you chose a character, you know you're screwed in some way. In SF, Juri and Seth have a defense that sucks, Zangief sucks at close range, and when you main a character, you know you're going to need to learn how to counter their weaknesses. Making all characters equally strong would remove the joy of defeating Potemkin with Chip Zanuff. Perfect balance is boring, but having an invincible character is ridiculous. 
#21 Edited by FateOfNever (1855 posts) -

You picked the wrong Blizzard game to compare fighting games to. You should be comparing them to World of Warcraft classes in PvP. And if you believe those are perfectly evenly balanced at all times... hoo-boy.

#22 Posted by Hailinel (25203 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@Example1013 said:

On this point: if you consider individual units to be characters, they're not even "balanced" within SC2. If you put 1 zergling against one Space Marine, are they evenly matched? Do they kill each other evenly? Or what about a Mothership vs. a Thor? SC2 is rock-paper-scissors strategy design, where the availability of a wide variety of units that each have unique functions creates a system that's fairly balanced overall, but the units themselves are not balanced against each other. That's like talking about League of Legends and saying the game is unbalanced because a support can't 1v1 a carry.

Also, individually balanced games are ridiculously boring because the only true balance that can exist on 1v1 is a mirror fight, and the closer you get to that balance, the closer you get to a mirror fight. When there are two different playstyles facing off, one is going to be inherently better for one reason or another. There will be a third strategy or playstyle out there, though, that will counter the "better" one but lose to the "worse" one.

Yes, but as you mentioned, as a whole, the races in SC2 are balanced against each other even though the units are obviously not. So what, are you saying, exactly? Units can't be compared to individual fighting game characters because the characters themselves are much more analogous to the actual races as a whole. And that second point isn't true. Zerg playstyle doesn't resemble Protoss playstyle or Terran playstyle, but at least any combination of these, supporting a great number of builds, can work competitively. Two characters: Balrog and Vega. These two SFIV characters are on equal enough territory, at least from what I had last seen concerning SFIV, but they don't play the same way. Thinking that balance in 1v1 can only mean mirror matches is just a lack of creativity, in my opinion.

You can balance Balrog and Vega, but how does that compare with Balrog's ability to fight, say, Blanka, Sakura, Juri, Ryu, Ken, and Sagat? In StarCraft, there are only three factions. All tweaks made to individual units are done to balance their abilities against each other as a whole. For a fighting game character, you have to balance things like:

  • Strength of each attack.
  • Amount of stun/chip damage special attacks incur.
  • Total health.
  • Hit zones and invincibility frames
  • Ease/difficulty of pulling off special attacks
  • Random character-specific skills or gauges
  • Taunt effects.
  • Skills as a striker/helper character in tag games.
  • Preventing infinites
  • Charge-time duration on charge attacks
  • Attack priority

And other things I can't think of off the top of my head. There is a lot that needs to be taken into consideration for balancing characters, and sometimes, problems in balance can't be identified until the wider audience has a chance to use and abuse them.

#23 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@MikeGosot: Oh, that's what you meant by equally powerful! I think I agree, then. Having characters with their own weakness against characters with different strengths is fun and interesting, definitely. Still, the mention of Zangief having to struggle against an Akuma more than against a Juri kind of... disturbs me. Varying playstyles depending on what your opponent utilizes is understandable, but I dislike the notion of immediately starting your battle at a disadvantage or an advantage depending on who you choose as a character.
#24 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: I had a lengthy counter-argument, but I don't need to bother to make it. There are 3 "fighters" in SC2 and 20 in SFIV. Which one do you think is going to be more balanced?

#25 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:
@MikeGosot: Oh, that's what you meant by equally powerful! I think I agree, then. Having characters with their own weakness against characters with different strengths is fun and interesting, definitely. Still, the mention of Zangief having to struggle against an Akuma more than against a Juri kind of... disturbs me. Varying playstyles depending on what your opponent utilizes is understandable, but I dislike the notion of immediately starting your battle at a disadvantage or an advantage depending on who you choose as a character.
Oh, i was saying the Akuma stuff based on my own experience. I'm good playing against Juris, because i main Juri so i kind of KNOW what's in the person's mind. I defeated a lot of Zangief's(Ok, it was just my friend who mains Zangief, BUT IT STILL COUNTS!) with Juri.
And i kinda like the notion of having a immeadiate disadvantage(What a strange word, my god.) or an advantage, but that's probably because i don't play online too much, and i have fond memories of beating/using Ogres and Gons in the VS Mode of Tekken 3. I think a Guilty Gear developer mentioned something about this as well. He said he liked the moments when you beat the Overpowered guy, but understands wat's bad about having an overpowered guy in the first place.
#26 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@Hailinel: Yeah, it seems that the general consensus is that it would just be crazy to balance a character against so many others when they all need to control differently enough from each other. Three races, essentially 3 "characters", does seem like it'd be easier to balance than a fighting game roster.
 
Still, I think that people are dismissing SCII's complexity. There are only three races, sure. But the amount of things these races can do also need to be balanced against each other. I've never been good at terminology, but there are many things that need to be balanced in SCII as well: 
 
  • Map design
  • Unit production time
  • Unit properties (armored, organic, mechanical...)
  • Upgrade time
  • Building time
  • Unit speed
  • Unit defense
  • Unit attack
  • Unit cost
  • Building cost
  • Upgrade cost
I mean, there's a lot to take into account in the game as well. Kinda makes me wish there was some kind of scientific research that factually stated whether SSFIV:AE was more complex than SCII or not, heh.
#27 Posted by ichthy (573 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@MikeGosot: Oh, that's what you meant by equally powerful! I think I agree, then. Having characters with their own weakness against characters with different strengths is fun and interesting, definitely. Still, the mention of Zangief having to struggle against an Akuma more than against a Juri kind of... disturbs me. Varying playstyles depending on what your opponent utilizes is understandable, but I dislike the notion of immediately starting your battle at a disadvantage or an advantage depending on who you choose as a character.

Isn't that what happens in Starcraft anyways? I was under the impression that each faction has one favourable match-up, one unfavourable, and one even.

#28 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@ichthy said: 

Isn't that what happens in Starcraft anyways? I was under the impression that each faction has one favourable match-up, one unfavourable, and one even.

Nope. I'm pretty sure from what I've seen that whether it be ZvZ, ZvT, ZvP, PvP, PvT, or TvT, everything is completely balanced. It's why the game's so big, I would think.
#29 Posted by FUMN (85 posts) -

You dont seem to have a lot of focus in your question. Are you questioning the exsistance of tiers? or are you questioning the complexity of fighting games? Tiers exsist for a very very specific reason. To rate a character on how well they stand up to the rest of the cast. Tiers lists make it apparent what are bad matchups and what are good matchups.

Look at it like this. Since you are so focused on SC2. What if the protoss went up against this imaginary race, lets call the imaginary race "X". X has the ability to shoot out units and get them to your base in about under 2 minutes, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. Generally speaking, that would be a terrible matchup for the protoss. They need a little more time then that. But X has very little options outside of their initial rush. Their units are weak and on the whole they are not good outside that 5 minute rush period. The only way protoss would win was by

A: reading the opponent and setting up a appropriate defense.

B: getting lucky and holding them off past the initial 5 minutes

C: X's folly costs them the match.

This matchup is heavily weighted in X's favor. But it wouldnt be the case against the Terran or the Zerg. More then likely they could repel the initial rush. Since X would only have 1 favorable matchup out of the three, X would be considered low tier.

My point here is that SF, and most fighting games for that matter, are full of polar characters. They take only a few words to describe what they do. They fill their niche incredibly well. While in SC the races are viable in most situations, depending on how you handle them . In SF Zangief has trouble with projectiles. He downright sucks when hes faced with a character that can use projectiles well. No amount of tweaking or rebalancing should change that. Its part of his design. Thats the reason he has sucked so much pre SF4. SF was and has been heavily focused on fireballs and zoning. Hence Zangief has been considered low tier throughout the series. SF4 introduced the FA which allowed him to become much more viable, among other changes that I wont go into.

#30 Edited by Hailinel (25203 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@Hailinel: Yeah, it seems that the general consensus is that it would just be crazy to balance a character against so many others when they all need to control differently enough from each other. Three races, essentially 3 "characters", does seem like it'd be easier to balance than a fighting game roster.

Still, I think that people are dismissing SCII's complexity. There are only three races, sure. But the amount of things these races can do also need to be balanced against each other. I've never been good at terminology, but there are many things that need to be balanced in SCII as well:

  • Map design
  • Unit production time
  • Unit properties (armored, organic, mechanical...)
  • Upgrade time
  • Building time
  • Unit speed
  • Unit defense
  • Unit attack
  • Unit cost
  • Building cost
  • Upgrade cost
I mean, there's a lot to take into account in the game as well. Kinda makes me wish there was some kind of scientific research that factually stated whether SSFIV:AE was more complex than SCII or not, heh.

You forget that this is a matter of three collective factions versus thirty individual fighters. While there is a lot to take into account in an RTS, you're still just dealing with three factions, and in StarCraft II's case, Blizzard has patched the hell out of the game through Battle.net.

#31 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@FUMN: So the variety concerning fighting game characters, filling their respective niches, makes for obligatory weaknesses among them. Naturally, there will be characters that are weaker to less match-ups than others. Hence the tier lists.  Okay, sure. In that case... I guess I still don't see why these games should be considered "tourney viable" then.

@Hailinel: I'm aware of that, at least now. But we can't say something like a race = a fighter. I mean, it's obvious that any fighting game with 20 characters would be more "balanced" (term's beginning to look weird to me) than SCII with 20 factions. 
 
But yeah, again there's that matter of patching and updates that is not possible for the fighting game developers currently. Can't argue much against that, but it's understandable that there would be more balance in these fighting games if it was possible. 
#32 Posted by Commisar123 (1798 posts) -

Yeah, that is a bummer, but it doesn't bother me at the level I play at

#33 Posted by Ubersmake (754 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@Ubersmake: The point about the updates is true, and I thought of that while writing, too. It's probably an even bigger contributing factor to the balance of those games than I thought previously. It'd be nice to say that the games should be fine upon release, but I know that that's unrealistic.

I like to think that this is why there are a bazillion versions of Street Fighter 2. Internet updates are a wonderful and maddening thing.

#34 Posted by benson (318 posts) -

@SoldierG654342 said:

So long as there is more than one set of moves in a fighting game, there will always be tiers. Perfect balance is impossible.

Hey everyone, this guy gave the correct answer. If what you want out of fighting games is perfect balance, just do mirror matches.

#35 Posted by Turambar (6847 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ said:
@Hailinel: Yeah, it seems that the general consensus is that it would just be crazy to balance a character against so many others when they all need to control differently enough from each other. Three races, essentially 3 "characters", does seem like it'd be easier to balance than a fighting game roster.
 
Still, I think that people are dismissing SCII's complexity. There are only three races, sure. But the amount of things these races can do also need to be balanced against each other. I've never been good at terminology, but there are many things that need to be balanced in SCII as well: 
 
  • Map design
  • Unit production time
  • Unit properties (armored, organic, mechanical...)
  • Upgrade time
  • Building time
  • Unit speed
  • Unit defense
  • Unit attack
  • Unit cost
  • Building cost
  • Upgrade cost
I mean, there's a lot to take into account in the game as well. Kinda makes me wish there was some kind of scientific research that factually stated whether SSFIV:AE was more complex than SCII or not, heh.
Except SC2 still didn't come out balanced.  Just to name some of the most egrigious imbalances the game first came out with, the original roach was a monster until it was nerfed.  The original reaper was a monster until it was nerfed.  The original warp gate tech was a monster and still is on maps that does not have ramps leading up to your base.  Blizzard patched and changed each of these over long periods of time.  But the culture of going back and changing rather fundamental things about characters in the middle of the game's life cycle is nonexistent for any fighting game.
 
Also I won't pretend I understand anything about fighting game theory, but I do know that all those changes that happened in SC2 still doesn't change it's basic mechanics that these imbalances are only layered on top off.  While Blizzard might change the bunker build time with every patch, the basic idea of building workers, supply depots, and units constantly is a constant.  I presume based on no facts at all that changes done to fighting game character might make playing them a bit more different on the very basic levels so perhaps that is why it's not really done in that avenue.  The fact that every single patch has to go through cert. every time instead of the streamlined path patches have on the PC doesn't help either.
#36 Edited by FateOfNever (1855 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: I think you may be looking at it the wrong way. While there's still a lot to balance in SC2, the number of things you have to balance doesn't matter. Consider this:

Balancing SC2 looks like this

TvZ

TvP

TvT

ZvP

ZvZ

PvP

There are 3 races, but you only have to balance six possible matchups.

In a fighting game, let's say you have 10 characters, A-J. Balancing them looks like this-

AvA

AvB

AvC

AvD

AvE

AvF

AvG

AvH

AvI

AvJ

BvB

BvC

...

...

So on and so forth until you have all 10 characters balanced against all 10 characters. I only went to AvA-J and BvB-C and that's already double the amount of matchups that they have to balance for. All of them accounted for that's 55 different match-ups you have to balance for. Fighting games are not simple. Neither are RTSs. And even if balancing the individual parts of an RTS were harder (I'm not convinced that they are, but if they were) that's still only 6 match-ups they have to balance out compared to 55 in a 10 character game.

Edit: And yes, balancing the RTS races involves balancing how everything works together, but that helps make balancing easier. If they had to balance every individual unit within a bubble, it would be near impossible. But they don't have to balance within a bubble, they just have to balance how everything works with everything else and that means things are balanced by specifically having weaknesses and counters. In a fighting game, for tiers to not exist, every character would, basically, need to not have weaknesses. As soon as a single character has something that they are more vulnerable to compared to another character, then tiers exist again. In SC2 if a unit has something that it's weak too, that's because the greater picture allows for that unit to still serve a function in the greater picture and it's supposed to have that weakness. If that makes any sense.

#37 Posted by Designer0 (56 posts) -

Dota style games also have tire lists.

#38 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@FateOfNever said:

As soon as a single character has something that they are more vulnerable to compared to another character, then tiers exist again. In SC2 if a unit has something that it's weak too, that's because the greater picture allows for that unit to still serve a function in the greater picture and it's supposed to have that weakness. If that makes any sense.

This actually explains a whole lot. When I had made the OP, I hadn't actually intended for the discussion to be so focused on SCII (mentioned it mainly because that was the competitive game on my mind), but I'm glad I did because the above sentence clears things up a whole lot for me. Thanks.
#39 Posted by Hailinel (25203 posts) -

I'd also note that without tiers, Dan Hibiki would not have earned his legendary status as the eternal loser.

#40 Posted by ShiftyMagician (2132 posts) -

@FateOfNever said:

@FluxWaveZ: I think you may be looking at it the wrong way. While there's still a lot to balance in SC2, the number of things you have to balance doesn't matter. Consider this:

Balancing SC2 looks like this

TvZ

TvP

TvT

ZvP

ZvZ

PvP

There are 3 races, but you only have to balance six possible matchups.

In a fighting game, let's say you have 10 characters, A-J. Balancing them looks like this-

AvA

AvB

AvC

AvD

AvE

AvF

AvG

AvH

AvI

AvJ

BvB

BvC

...

...

So on and so forth until you have all 10 characters balanced against all 10 characters. I only went to AvA-J and BvB-C and that's already double the amount of matchups that they have to balance for. All of them accounted for that's 55 different match-ups you have to balance for. Fighting games are not simple. Neither are RTSs. And even if balancing the individual parts of an RTS were harder (I'm not convinced that they are, but if they were) that's still only 6 match-ups they have to balance out compared to 55 in a 10 character game.

You sir, have the best answer here and pretty much sums up the issue and why there will continue to be tier lists for a good long time if not always.

#41 Posted by MasturbatingestBear (1194 posts) -

Tier lists are simply based on how a fight between two characters would generally go if they were controlled by people of the same skill level. So proper playing of a character is based on how the player plays it. Tiers have very little effect. In HD Remix Zangief is bottom and Akuma is top. Any good Zangief should be able to take on a mediocre Akuma with no problem whatsoever.

It also is based off of player performance. E-Honda is higher than Guile in the HDR tiers, but he still generally loses to Guile. I personally can tear up most skilled Guiles, because I have adjusted to myself with that playstyle. Honda generally can decimate a Cammy but I personally have some problems adjusting to Cammys.

Zangief is lowest on the tier list while Balrog is 2nd from the top in the list. But Zangief has a much higher advantage over Balrog. Its all about picks vs counterpicks. You gotta know when to counter pick. It adds to the strategy and makes the game appear more balanced.

For easier understanding check out this chart.

http://www.eventhubs.com/guides/2008/oct/31/super-street-fighter-2-turbo-hd-remix-tiers-character-rankings/

#42 Posted by MasturbatingestBear (1194 posts) -

And to add to the disadvantage from the start point (a good point) thats on the player. I've heard from lots of people that a great way to start learning any character is to find a way to take apart his weaknesses first. Which would be like a new Balrog player learning to counter Zangief first.

#43 Posted by MikkaQ (10331 posts) -

I think the problem here is that you're comparing the relative complexities of a fighting game and an RTS, which are basically incomparable. An RTS is complicated in a different way than a fighting game. In an RTS you want perfect balance because the scale is so much larger and the variables are super extreme at that level. If you scale down to a fighting game which is a more intimate experience, the closer you get to a perfect balance, the more boring the fight is going to be. The characters would all be the same if the balance was perfect or even anywhere near perfect.

Proper character use and selection is a part of success in fighting games anyway.

#44 Edited by MysteriousBob (6272 posts) -

Virtua Fighter is the most balanced series of fighting games ever made. They're also boring as shit.

Considering some of the most fun fighting games are also the most unbalanced (say hello MVC2) I don't really view this as a problem.

I've never played it but Starcraft has three factions right? I'd imagine that A vs B, A vs C and B vs C is easier to balance than 50 different characters.

#45 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@The_LMFAO_Guy said:
Can you name me a non-Capcom fighting game were a tier list doesn't matter?
That's the whole point. If developers actually want their fighting games to matter in a competitive sense, why do tier lists have to matter at all? Those behind Skullgirls seem to be striving for what I would want in this context. ArcSys, while not perfect, certainly do a better job than Capcom has at fighting game balance.

It's impossible though, unless they make every character extremely, extremely similar, which in turn makes it bland.

@FluxWaveZ said:

How is it that a game like Starcraft II, a real-time strategy game with an extreme amount of variables regarding matches, can have a practically perfect amount of balance while Capcom seemingly can't even get it right with any of their recent fighting games? Sure, SC2 has only 3 races to deal with while fighting game rosters can be very, very large, but I'd be surprised to learn that Starcraft II isn't more complex than a vast majority of fighting games out right now.

aaaaaand fighting games also have a lot of variables. Every character has what? 30+ moves in total? Yeah, that is a lot of variables. Dante in MvC3 including his normal moves must have something like 60+, and most of them are specials.

By that I am including "normal" moves, which means any crouching, jumping, standing, standing while holding back, standing while holding forward... and so on attacks. Then you add special moves on top of this and it gets very hectic, add on having 30+ characters in a game and yeah, variables. (I didn't even include that many special moves change based on light, medium or heavy)

There's just so many different factors, it goes well beyond X character doing more damage than the other, or X character having more ways to combo into ultra.

So if you want perfect balance you will have to choose between either: having hardly any characters to choose from, or every character being almost identical.

StarCraft is a pretty bad example, even though yes for only having 3 races it does have a lot of variables because of all the different units. Though, it has not been perfect, it has had many cases of one race being favoured over the other. Terran in SC2 were extremely good for around 6+ months before starting to get significant nerfs.

#46 Edited by DefaultProphet (550 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@ricetopher said:

Tier lists come with being competitive, simple as that. And they are pretty much always based on opinions when it comes to the specifics.

But there's no tier list for the SC2 races from what I've seen. Starcraft II has a large amount of units. Why should it be obvious that balancing this is easier than balancing a roster of several fighting game characters? The genres are not similar, but they remain competitive. If the developers could, what would stop them from making several minor adjustments to several characters to promote balance? It's the same reason for why Sentinel in MvC3 got nerfed or why Sagat did in SFIV.

When SC2 came out it was

God Tier:

Terran

Good Tier:

Zerg

Shit Tier:

Protoss

Or was Toss and Zerg swapped, can't remember.

#47 Posted by Capasso (45 posts) -
#48 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19377 posts) -
@MikkaQ said:

If you scale down to a fighting game which is a more intimate experience, the closer you get to a perfect balance, the more boring the fight is going to be. The characters would all be the same if the balance was perfect or even anywhere near perfect.

Then do fighting games "deserve" to be taken seriously at a professional level? They're so popular in the tournament scene, and people oftentimes refer to these games when they speak of "E-sports", but aren't sports designed so that everything is fair? If fighting games can't be fair, then they'll never reach the popularity and renown of a Starcraft II, right?
#49 Posted by MikkaQ (10331 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

@MikkaQ said:

If you scale down to a fighting game which is a more intimate experience, the closer you get to a perfect balance, the more boring the fight is going to be. The characters would all be the same if the balance was perfect or even anywhere near perfect.

Then do fighting games "deserve" to be taken seriously at a professional level? They're so popular in the tournament scene, and people oftentimes refer to these games when they speak of "E-sports", but aren't sports designed so that everything is fair? If fighting games can't be fair, then they'll never reach the popularity and renown of a Starcraft II, right?

Well I'm not one to ask because I think the entire concept of e-sports to be very stupid.

#50 Posted by RenMcKormack (1074 posts) -

SF1 Was perfectly balanced Ken and Ryu could do the exact same moves, that were both impossible to pull off. Perfect Balance.